Change Management Assignment

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Introduction
This paper will focus on the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company. Zimbabwe has been going through some reforms since independence in 1980, with the aim of improving service delivery in the civil service and parastatal organizations. As of now Zimbabwe and other developing countries have been facing serious socio-economic challenges which have led to poor performance of the economy. In Zimbabwe restructuring attempts of state-owned enterprises seem to be met by strong resistance as evidenced at the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC). Organisations that embark on a restructuring exercise tend to have employees that resist the change (Burke, 2017). Public sector organizations are usually seen as being slow, inefficient and less effective compared to private sector organizations which are innovative and are keen on satisfying their customer’s needs (Van der Voet, 2014).
However, things seem to have changed. The business world has become violent and publicly owned companies have realized that for them to survive they cannot wait for the one size fits all kind of running things they need to restructure reposition and reorganize systems to fight competition. Bradley (2016), states that avoiding change is not a viable option. The Challenge is to develop an effective and timely method of determining the optimum set of proactive changes and to manage them so that stakeholder resistance is overcome and defined performance goals are achieved. There is a need for organizations to continue making internal changes because the external environment continues to change every day. Without the change, organizations will not survive.

ZETDC Change Initiative
The general public of Zimbabwe has been complaining about poor service delivery by parastatal service organizations namely, ZESA/ZETDC (Zinyama et al., 2015). The mandate of ZETDC is mainly distribution and transmission of electricity around the country. All this is heavily dependent on its organizational culture and employee’s commitment to its mission, vision, goals, and aspirations. An article published in the Herald pointed out to what most people believe is the root of all ZETDCs problems. The article cites an irregularity in the awarding of a tender to its sister company PowerTel (Zengeni, 2014). Zengeni states that numerous directors were set to benefit financially from the project and unsurprisingly some of them were part of the adjudicators. Another story published stated that the company’s employees went on a strike because of unpaid arrears of over $100 million (Source, 2018). The employees also wanted a salary increment of 50% because they believed their current salaries were not reflective of their market value.
Another contributing factor is that senior management of the organization seems to be earning above the ordinary. Mhlanga (2014) reported that one management advisor pocketed a yearly salary of that is over half a million dollars. This was only uncovered after investigations were made into irregularities and corruption scandals that have become the norm in Zimbabwean parastatals. Such a salary is rather surprising considering a senior development manager at ZETDC is on record stating that the equipment being used by the parastatal was 30 years old and of poor quality. Activities at the parastatal point to a lack of transparency, mismanagement and possibly corruption. ZETDC has stated it is not able to increase its employees’ salaries because there is no money in its coffers. This leaves more questions than answers as there seems to be enough money for senior management and none for junior employees and key development programs (Source, 2018).
The government decided to instigate a restructuring exercise to address some of these challenges. An article published in the Financial Gazette (2017) stated that a total of 1700 were set to become redundant as ZETDC made changes to its personnel structure and sought ways to limit its costs. “They alleged that recently a new organogram was launched and positions for artisan assistants, drivers and lead artisans would be phased out.”
The Customer Satisfaction Survey was also undertaken in October 2015 to find out what customers thought about the service they get from ZETDC, and to establish how employees conducted themselves as ZETDC employee’s culture (Chirasha et al., 2015). The Customer Satisfaction Survey was managed by a consultant company called “Quest Consultancy Pvt Ltd”. The findings were revealed in March 2016 to all employees as the comments by customers were damaging and the chief stakeholder who is the Government of Zimbabwe was also getting serious complaints about the Company ZETDC and its continued cry for a Tariff Increase to consumers. The findings were that customers were generally not happy with the conduct of employees and expressed a number of frustrations when applying for new connections, enquiring and paying bills, reporting and response time to faults etc.

Change Management
Change management is a structured approach to shifting/transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state, Cmkovic, Asklund & Persson-Dahlqvist, (2003). It is an organizational process aimed at empowering employees to accept and embrace changes in their current business environment. Change in organization can either be proactive or reactive. Proactive change involves actively attempting to make alternation to the work place and its practices. Reactive change occurs when organization makes change in its practice after some threat or opportunity has already occurred. The success of implementing change is generally associated with those who facilitate (he change process. The change agent here is defined as the manager who seeks “to reconfigure an organization’s roles, responsibilities, structures, output, processes, systems, technology or other resources” (Wu and Wu, 2011) in light of improving organizational effectiveness.
This perceptions and assumptions of change management are critical and vital aspects to be understood by the expert and novice users. It is known that despite the best efforts of managers, one-third of major change initiatives fail because of the managers’ perception to change (Moyo, 2016). Significant obstacles to planning and implementing of strategic change management are related to managers’ perception and resistance, particularly for projects that attempt to change the way people work. Consequently, many organizations are aware of the cost associated with not overcoming such organizations behaviors. Wu and Wu (2011) suggest that the potential impacts include: low morale; poor attitude towards intended change; substantial reduction in productivity; an increase in potential errors; attempts to sabotage the move, in this case, strategic change.
Strategic change arises out of the need for organization to exploit existing or emerging opportunities and deal with threats in the market. It is crucial that organization seek to create a competitive advantage and wherever possible innovate to improve their competitive position. This implies the readiness to change within the organization and the ability to implement the proposed change (Moyo, 2016). Hills and Jones (2001) see strategic change as a process of moving an organization away from its present state towards some desired future state to increase its competitive advantage. They observe that most organizations have gone though some kind of strategic change as their management have tried to strengthen their existing core competences and build new ones to compete more effectively. Re-engineering, restructuring and innovation have been the three kinds of strategic changes pursued in the recent times. Strategic change aims at aligning systems, processes and behavior to the new strategy.

The factors that can influence the outcome of any change program have been identified as: culture, stakeholder politics, leadership, teamwork and resistance to change.

Culture
Generally, there is no clear definition of organizational culture that has been agreed upon (Acar, 2012). Acar postulates that organisational culture is a structure of communal beliefs, values and assumptions and values that denotes what proper and improper behaviour. Yildiz and Acuner (2005) also concur and add assumption and behaviors of organization members in addition to their values and beliefs. Organisation culture usually refers to the organisational values and employee beliefs and both have an influence on employee attitudes and behaviours. Organisational culture can also be defined as the consistent and strategic style of valuable assets of an organisation where employees, collectively or individually make a contribution to the attainment of the organisation’s objectives (Acar, 2012).

Stakeholder Politics
Lee and Chuang (2009) see organizational politics as tactics that strategic managers and stakeholders engage in to obtain and use power to influence organizational goals and change strategy making and structure to further their own interest. Therefore stakeholders’ support is essential for success of any change program since many stakeholders groups have different interests and power and achieving universal support is a challenge and politics sets in.

Leadership
Any organisation’s failure or success is determined, mainly by the effectiveness of a leader (Lee and Chuang, 2009). Malik and Hassan (2014) describes leadership as a combination of knowledge, experience and skills, which are necessary in getting other people to work towards the achievement of specific goals and to organize them to achieve those goals. A leader’s main role is to select, equip, train and influence a follower or followers who have different gifts, talents, and abilities. The leader helps the staff to direct their focus towards the organization’s vision resulting in the staff’s willingness to direct and apply their emotional, physical and even spiritual energy towards a collaborative effort to achieve the organisation’s goals. Moyo (2016) argues that leadership entails the usage of authority and power to inspire the views and actions of his or her followers.

Teamwork
Effective team-based organizations typically succeed when they maximize the ability to cooperate and collaborate. Team members must value other members, their expertise and their commitment. They should agree upon a shared goal. Critical success factors include alignment of the teams to the common goal, willingness of participants, atmosphere of collaboration and supporting infrastructure. Successful teamwork usually results in loyalty, trust and cohesiveness that lead to increased productivity. All team members must share the same vision. This vision needs to be aligned with the company’s strategic goals and objectives as well. When you embark on a trip, you first decide on a destination. Then, you typically follow a map to reach that destination. Establishing a firm foundation for success in team-based organizations is no different. Sponsors, stakeholders and team members must agree on the vision and then they can work together to plot a course of action.

Resistance to Change
The process of change is ubiquitous and employee resistance has been identified as a critically important contributor to the failure of many well intended and well conceived efforts to initiate change within organizations (Choi, 2011). Employee resistance usually impairs concerted efforts to improve performance at both the individual and organizational levels. Many corporate change efforts have been initiated at tremendous cost only to be halted by resistance among the organizations employees. Change suggests letting go of old habits, roles, processes, procedures, and structures (Burke, 2017). There is uncertainty about new requirements and excessive concern about the future. All of these results to anxiety, stress, conflicts, and resistance. According to Burnes and Jackson (2011), it is important for change managers to have an understanding of why people resist change, because this allows them to plan strategies aimed at managing resistance from the onset.
Traditionally, resistance has been perceived as an unfavourable and destabilizing problem that must be resolved in anyway possible so as to achieve successful organizational change. Burke (2017) points out that managers often consider resistance negatively, and employees who resist change are usually viewed as disobedient and obstacles the organization must overcome. Several scholars and theorists have forwarded alternative views regarding resistance. The gist of this school of thought is that resistance should be handled more objectively and represented as being a useful feedback tool that plays an important and constructive role in the whole change process.

Conclusion
Changing nature of technology and economy force educational organizations to change as regards structural and functional aspects. Indeed, some major external triggers originated outside the school organizations can be ranked as law and regulations of the government, society’s standards and values, changing technology, demographic characteristics, improvements in technology, administrative processes and school members’ needs (Will, 2012). On the other hand, internal forces stem from inside the organizations fostering change proposed by Leavitt (1964) as cited Moyo (2016) are technology, primary task, people and administrative structures.
The changes in ZETDC have no doubt had negative coverage due to significant job cuts, however, the goal of reducing costs by cutting ineffective departments is a necessity engaged by any big business around the world. The study also revealed the impact of a lack of trust has on the way change is perceived in an organization. Due to past allegations of corruption within the higher echelons of power, the organizations change initiatives were viewed from primarily a negative light despite the backing received from academic literature. Various scholars agree that for an organization to stay relevant and grow it must continue tweaking its operations to maximize its disposition.

References
Lee and Chuang. 2009. The impact of leadership styles on Job Stress and Turnover Intention: Taiwan Insurance Industry. Available at [email protected] [2 November 2017]
Malik, S.H., Aziz,S. & Hassan, H. 2014. Leadership behavior and acceptance of leaders by subordinates: application of path-goal theory in Telcom sector. International Journal of Trade and Finance. 5(2), 170-175.
Moyo, S. (2016). Leadership, Motivation, Personal and Business Growth and Financial Markets. Available at: http://uniquespeakerbureau.com/category/business-management/business-organisational-culture/page/2/ [2 November 2017].
Will, M.G., 2012. Successful organizational change through win-win: How change managers can organize mutual benefits(No. 2012-20). Diskussionspapier.
https://www.newsday.co.zw/2017/11/zetdc-equipment-obsolete/ Mhlanga, 2017
https://source.co.zw/2018/01/zesa-pleads-poverty-as-workers-demand-50pct-salary-raise/
Burke, W.W., 2017. Organization change: Theory and practice. Sage Publications.
Van der Voet, J., 2014. The effectiveness and specificity of change management in a public organization: Transformational leadership and a bureaucratic organizational structure. European Management Journal, 32(3), pp.373-382.
Acar, A. Z. 2012. Organizational culture, leadership styles and organizational commitment in Turkish logistics industry. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 58, 217-226.

 

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